Free, nutritionally-balanced lunches featuring build-your-own pizza kits and sub sandwiches will be available to youth ages 2 - 18 through the USDA Summer Food Service Program at Oak Grove Community Center, 1705 Thompsonville Lane.

The program is provided by Christian County Public School System. It will be offered at the center beginning Wednesday. Following dates include June 18 and 25; and July 9, 16 and 23. Lunch will be served 12:10 - 12:45 p.m.

The community center is one of 15 site locations where children will be served by the program.

The program falls under the Kentucky Department of Education. No registration is required to participate.

The program's mission is to combat food insecurities youth face during summer vacation by providing them with freshly prepared meals that meet the dietary needs of youth, said Penny Holt, district food service director for CCPS.

"We know food doesn't magically appear to children once school is out," she said.

Other locations include Christian County Middle School, Hopkinsville Community College and Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation. Site locations are determined based on areas of need, Holt said.

"We are hoping that by covering all of these entities that we will reach as many children as possible," she said.

The program team is prepared to serve about 10,000 breakfasts and 20,000 lunches during the two-month program, she said.

Holt said the numbers speak for themselves and prove the district's need for this programming. Not to mention the large amount of sites being served this year, she said.

Although the sack lunches that will be served may look familiar to children, what will be inside will be anything but ordinary.

"This year we are trying a few different things. We will be serving a primarily cold menu, but it's stuff that kids love," Holt said. "In the past we have served a lot of burgers and chicken nuggets, and the kids do love those things, but we have those during the school year all of the time, so we wanted to try some new things."

The "String Cheese Lunch Pow" will include string cheese, crackers, ham squares, celery and dip, an orange, milk and a cookie.

One lunch will include a "Summer Sub Club" with turkey, ham, pepperoni and cheese on a sub roll.

Because "Pizza Go Boxes" are popular during the school year, they also will be served throughout the summer, Holt said.

"That's flatbreads with a marinara cup, some little pepperonis and shredded cheese and then they can assemble their own pizzas," she said. "We also are going to put a fruit cup and some carrot sticks and dip in with that."

One hot lunch will be served and that will include a grilled cheese sandwich.

Each meal will include milk, fruit and a vegetable.

For breakfast, items such as sausage biscuits and Poptarts will be served.

Holt is grateful to her team for helping to make this program a success. She said a lot of time has gone into preparing to put the program into action.

"I'm really excited about the program. It's a lot of work to get it off the ground," she said. "My ladies … they are people who work all year in food service … they are just people who want to do that extra. They have a ball doing this for the kids. I'm really proud of them for stepping up to the plate and doing such a good job.

INFO 

Summer Food Service Program Sites and Schedule

Boys and Girls Club, 1600 Walnut St. Monday - July 26. Breakfast: 8 - 9 a.m. Lunch: noon - 1 p.m.

Challenge House, 1605 Phelps St. June 13 - July 26. Breakfast: 8 - 8:20 a.m. Lunch: 12:30 - 1 p.m.

Christian County Middle School, 210 Glass Ave. Monday - July 26. Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Division of Parks and Recreation, 2600 Thomas St. Breakfast: 8 - 8:30 a.m.

Gordon Park, 13731 N. Old Madisonville Road, Crofton. Monday - July 26. Lunch: 10:45 - 11:15 a.m.

Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, 501 Noel Drive. June 24 - 28. Breakfast: 8:30 - 9 a.m. Lunch: noon - 12:30 p.m.

Hopkinsville Community College, 720 North Drive. Breakfast 8 - 8:15 a.m. Lunch: Noon - 12:20 p.m.

Hopkinsville Middle School, 434 Koffman Drive. June 17 - 28. Breakfast 8 - 8:15 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Hopkinsville Parks and Recreation, 2600 Thomas St. June 10 - July 19. Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.

Mt. Comprehensive at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, 144052 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Monday - July 26 (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays only). Breakfast: 9 a.m. Lunch: noon.

Trigg County Mountain Comprehensive at Cadiz Methodist Church, 482 Lakota Drive, Cadiz. Wednesday - July 26 (Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays only). Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. Lunch: noon.

Mountain Comprehensive, 128 W. Seventh St. Monday - July 12. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - noon.

Oak Grove Community Center, 1705 Thompsonville Lane. June 12, 18 and 25; and July 9, 16 and 23. Lunch: 12:10 - 12:45 p.m.

RH Summer on the Hill, 814 Belmont St. weekdays June 3 - 28. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

STEM Camp, 705 N. Elm St. June 10 and June 13 - 19. Lunch: 10:30 - 11 a.m.

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